Stepping across the threshold
I take a long, smoky pull
from the August dark,
try to memorize dirt and water
all that holds me on this blue orb
every boy I met at midnight
every car I pushed down the road
revved like thunder
leaned into bend and turn
to escape the rearview
rope and board
peripheral flickers of constellation
bigger than the small grip of control
it took to shut out the lights
lock the door,
secure the privacy settings.
In this brittle haze of nostalgia
I remember another mad man is in charge
but this time I have a child asleep
while I secret this drag.
my curated walls are enflamed
my zip code could be nuked
just like that it could be gone.
I have to take off my specks—
what you do before a fight–
My opponent will blur
the way they did for Artemisia
and for Joan.
This is how to stand like a knight
only a slim blade against the dragon
of this time.
Hold my light
I’ll whisper into the legacy of stars
to the wind and crescent moon
handover my glowing ash and lick of flame.
Every uprising takes a curve of trajectory
and a practice run.
Every revolution starts with one woman
turning inward, holding court with herself.
Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer and author of the 2017 Willa Award winning Demimonde (Lithic Press, 2016) and All Ember (Urban Farmhouse Press). Winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio Award, an Anne LaBastille Poetry Residency and short-listed for the Manchester Poetry Competition in the UK, Bridger is both editor of Ridgway Alley Poems and Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series. She co-hosts Poetry Voice with poet Uche Ogbuji. Find her current work in Prairie Schooner, December, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She earned her MFA at Pacific University. Kierstinbridger.com.
Photograph by JiNKY Lin